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"American Kestrel"
American Kestrel:    The American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) is often called the "Sparrow Hawk", a name originating from British settlers in the 1700s because the bird reminded them of their Sparrowhawk back home (Accipiter nisus) which primarily hunted sparrows as their prey.

The name "American Kestrel" came from the resemblance to the "Common Kestrel" (Falco tinnunculus, also known as the "Eurasian Kestrel", "European Kestrel", "Old World Kestrel", or simply "Kestrel", a bird approximately 13-15 inches in length, compared to the American Kestrel's 7-8 inches.). The name "Kestrel" itself is from Old French cresserelle, derived from the Latin crepicella, meaning to creak or crackle, referring to the bird's call.

The scientific name of the American Kestrel comes from the Latin word "falx" meaning "scythe" or "falco" meaning "hook-shaped", referring to the shape of the wing and/or the shape of the talons, and "sparverius" meaning "pertaining to a hedge sparrow", or "espervier", a Latinized French word for "sparrow hawk". In other words, "Falco sparverius" means "falcon of the sparrows".

Other names referenced to the Kestrel are "Grasshopper Hawk", "Killy Hawk" (for the killy, killy, killy sound they make), "Short-winged Hawk", "Windhover" (for their ability to hover), and "House Hawk" (they will nest in wooden nest boxes).

The Kestrel is the smallest falcon in North America and can fly 60 miles per hour when pursuing prey.


On March 3, 1806, Captain William Clark, of the Lewis and Clark expedition, wrote in his journal:

"... I observe no difference between the Hawk of this Coast and those of the Atlantic. I have observed the large brown Hawk [most likely the Red-tailed Hawk], the Small or Sparrow hawk [American Kestrel], and a hawk of an intermediate Size with a long tail and blewish coloured wings, remarkably Swift in flight and very ferce. Sometimes called in the Un. States the hen Hawk [Northern Harrier].    those birds Seam to be common to every part of this Country in greater or smaller numbers, and the Hawks, Crows, and ravins build their nests is great numbers along the high & inaxcessable clifts of the Columbia, and Lewis's rivers when we passd along them. ..."


 
Ridgefield Birdfest ...

Image, 2013, Ridgefield Birdfest, Ridgefield, Washington, click to enlarge
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American Kestrel, Audubon Raptor talk, Ridgefield Birdfest, Ridgefield, Washington. Gorgeous fall day. Image taken October 6, 2013. Panasonic Lumix FZ200.


Monthly
January ... Julia Butler Hansen NWR, Washington ...

Image, 2011, Julia Butler Hansen NWR, Washington, click to enlarge Image, 2011, Julia Butler Hansen NWR, Washington, click to enlarge
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American Kestrel, male, Julia Butler Hansen NWR, Washington. Image taken January 26, 2011. Canon EOS 7d, 400mm.
Image, 2011, Julia Butler Hansen NWR, Washington, click to enlarge
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American Kestrel, male, Julia Butler Hansen NWR, Washington. Image taken January 26, 2011. Canon EOS 7d, 400mm.


January ... Steigerwald Lake NWR, Washington ...

Image, 2010, Steigerwald NWR, Washington, click to enlarge Image, 2010, Steigerwald NWR, Washington, click to enlarge
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American Kestrel, male, Steigerwald Lake NWR, Washington. Mostly cloudy day with occasional sunbreaks. Image taken January 31, 2010. Canon Rebel, 300mm.


January ... Woodland, Washington ...

Image, 2009, Woodland, Washington, click to enlarge
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American Kestrel, female, Woodland, Washington. Image taken January 31, 2009. Canon Rebel, 200z.


February ... Shillapoo Wildlife Area, Vancouver, Washington ...

Image, 2010, Shillapoo Wildlife Area, Washington, click to enlarge Image, 2010, Shillapoo Wildlife Area, Washington, click to enlarge
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American Kestrel, female, Shillapoo Wildlife Area, Vancouver, Washington. Along LaFrambois Road. Image taken February 15, 2010. Canon Rebel, 300mm.


February ... Steigerwald Lake NWR, Washington ...

Image, 2010, Steigerwald Lake NWR, Washington, click to enlarge Image, 2010, Steigerwald Lake NWR, Washington, click to enlarge
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American Kestrel, male, Steigerwald Lake NWR, Washington. Gorgeous windy sunny cold day. Image taken February 21, 2010. Canon Rebel, 300mm.


March ... Columbia River near Portland International Airport ...

Image, 2009, near PDX, Oregon, click to enlarge
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American Kestrel, female, Columbia River near Portland International Airport, Portland, Oregon. Image taken March 4, 2009. Canon Rebel, 200z.


March ... Ridgefield NWR, Washington ...

Image, 2008, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, click to enlarge Image, 2008, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, click to enlarge
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American Kestrel, male (left) and female (right). Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Washington, River "S" Unit. Left image taken March 5, 2008. Right image taken November 30, 2008.

MORE
Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge American Kestrel images


March ... Steigerwald Lake NWR, Washington ...

Image, 2010, Steigerwald NWR, Washington, click to enlarge
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American Kestrel, male, Steigerwald Lake NWR, Washington. Image taken March 13, 2010. Canon Rebel, 300z.


March ... Steigerwald Lake NWR, Washington ...

Image, 2016, Steigerwald Lake NWR, Washington, click to enlarge Image, 2016, Steigerwald Lake NWR, Washington, click to enlarge
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American Kestrel, with mouse, Steigerwald Lake NWR, Washington. Overcast and gray. Image taken March 23, 2016. Nikon P900.


May ... Troutdale, Oregon ...

Image, 2012, Troutdale, Oregon, click to enlarge Image, 2012, Troutdale, Oregon, click to enlarge
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American Kestrel, male, Troutdale, Oregon. Along Sundial Road. Mid-afternoon sunshine. Image taken May 12, 2012. Canon EOS 7d, 400mm.


July ... Baskett Slough NWR, Oregon ...

Image, 2013, Baskett Slough NWR, Oregon, click to enlarge
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American Kestrel, Baskett Slough NWR, Oregon. Image taken July 15, 2013. Sony HX300.


November ... Broughton Beach, Portland, Oregon ...

Image, 2012, Broughton Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge Image, 2012, Broughton Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
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American Kestrel, Broughton Beach, Columbia River, Oregon. Overcast but no rain. Image taken November 24, 2012. Canon EOS 7d, 400mm.


November ... Shillapoo Wildlife Area, Vancouver, Washington ...

Image, 2009, Shillapoo Wildlife Area, Washington, click to enlarge
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Windy day, American Kestrel, female, Shillapoo Wildlife Area, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken November 27, 2009. Canon EOS 40d, 400mm.


December ... Shillapoo Wildlife Area, Vancouver, Washington ...

Image, 2009, Shillapoo Wildlife Area, Washington, click to enlarge
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American Kestrel, female, Shillapoo Wildlife Area, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken December 11, 2009. Canon EOS 40d, 400mm.



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July 2013